Any seasoned B2B marketer knows that marketing technology won’t fix a bad marketing strategy or ineffectual process – but the right martech certainly magnifies the results of good strategies and processes, clean data and focused marketing teams.
Marketers who understand marketing technology and the martech landscape put their companies and marketing careers in a much stronger position.
Regularly researching new martech solutions and tech vendors provides multiple benefits. Here are seven:
1. Technological competence supports any artistic talent
Marketing is just as much science as art, and all the data that’s pouring into marketing and sales databases is nearly useless without command over the numerous technologies that leverage it.
This used to merely include marketing automation platforms and CRM systems. Today, however, marketers must understand myriad types of solutions for each marketing responsibility.
Take content marketing for example; this used to be the creative, artsy element of marketing. But now, the strongest marketing teams rely on tech to ensure the full potential of their content initiatives. Personas and target-account lists are based on predictive analytics models, content strategy is dictated and continually optimized by myriad tracking and reporting tools, and content assets distributed by a mix of top-funnel demand generation solutions.
2. Martech helps you help your colleagues, which helps you
For decades, we’ve understood the importance of marketing-and-sales alignment. Though, over the last few years, marketing’s importance has grown substantially, resulting in increasing responsibility, larger budgets and a division of labor into intra-marketing teams that have in some cases become just as distinct as sales is from accounting.
Each of these individual sub-marketing teams has its own set of systems and tools (often overlapping with the capabilities of adjacent teams’ tech). A seamless flow of data between teams and departments provides numerous benefits, hence why tech integration is so important.
As Ben Staley, Marketing Programs Manager at Rackspace, recently commented:
"MarTech naturally connects systems, and therefore teams and functions like marketing, operations, sales, etc. Having MarTech expertise exposes marketers to the broader business impact of marketing which is an amazing career-developer."
Unless you understand all the technology used by your colleagues and the values they create, you’ll never achieve the alignment necessary to benefit both your team, your organization and your career.
Alternatively, if you’re able to recommend solutions that fix data chokepoints, increase efficiency or scale marketing performance in general, you’ll set yourself apart.
3. You’ll Be More Prepared For Emerging Industry Trends and Shifts
When innovation disrupts a specific martech category, it affects marketing as a whole. This can occur in several ways. Think of how social tools (typically a digital marketing team responsibility) have influenced marketing automation (typically a marketing operations or demand generation responsibility). Or how marketing ops’ adoption of predictive analytics has affected specific demand gen strategies, such as influencing the shift toward account-based marketing (ABM).
New technological developments at one end of the marketing spectrum (front-office customer experience to back-office ops) almost always have a ripple effect that carries all the way to the other end.
This effect may be delayed, but the more prepared you are, the easier it’ll be to make adjustments to boost your personal, team and organizational performance.
4. Tech amplifies efforts and enables scale
Marketers are on the hook for increasing, down-funnel results: sales pipeline, customer creation, revenue. Though marketing budgets have grown over the years, they don’t typically cover everyting needed to hit goals, and marketing departments therefore must squeeze more performance out of our limited resources.
Though marketing tech is often sold for all the cool, new stuff that it can do (think artificial intelligence and granular marketing attribution models), it’s usually the solutions that automate and streamline time-sucking, resource-draining processes that provide the most value. For some organizations that may mean integration solutions that allow systems to communicate without manual efforts, for others it may entail automated lead-data processing.
Understanding the martech available to you and your team will allow you to pinpoint the right solutions to manual, ineffective processes that currently drag down your performance. And being a champion and power-user of those technologies will certainly be noticed in your organization.
5. it Prevents you from investing in unnecessary systems and tools
On the flip side of the coin, having a greater understanding of the marketing tech landscape helps you avoid falling into a prevalent marketing pitfall: shiny new object syndrome.
While we all love the Stackie Awards and seeing all the various ways marketers have custom-built advanced tech ecosystems, many marketing teams are seemingly becoming addicted to martech adoption, cursorily investing in new solutions without having a good understanding of matching pain points and use cases.
I’m not suggesting marketers research and memorize every marketing tech vendor on Scott Brinker's martech landscape infographic, but understanding the general categories and a few main players in each will help you avoid costly, embarrassing tech investments.
6. It’ll Help You Make Your Boss Look Good
Marketing leadership and even the c-suite depend on feedback from lower-level specialists –demand generation, digital team, marketing operations, media, etc. (See the interview with Bala Kudaravalli, who specifically states how he checks in with teams daily).
You’re likely one of these sources of feedback, so you obviously need to understand the tech you personally use. But the more you can place your insight in the context of the entire martech stack, the more valuable your information will be to your boss and other marketing execs. And we all know, helping your boss look good is good for your career.
7. You’ll draw the attention of more marketing role recruiters
You may work in marketing ops and have your marketing automation platform dialed in. But when you apply for another position, how do you expect you’ll match up against other candidates who have experience with website personalization tools and demand orchestration software, can speak the language of numerous marketing teams, and will contribute new ideas on ways to creatively MacGyver systems?
There’s an artful balance between becoming “Jack of all, master of none” and the person who specializes beyond any transferable abilities. But make no mistake, marketers of every role will increasingly be expected to understand multiple technologies.